Comments: Do You Really Want to be Heard?

Today I received an interesting newsletter from The Content Strategist, published by Contently. The topic was blog comments. You remember comments? That little link on the top right of each of my posts where you get to express your opinion about what I’ve said?

The Content Strategist explained that some websites have removed their comment link. The reasons are varied, of course, but top among them are the maniacs who frequently express their hostility on any subject, with no regard for the feelings of others. There’s also research that indicates less than one percent of readers actually even look at what other people have said.

Who knew?

I like the comment option at Southern Exposure. I like what you say and have only rarely had to ignore (not publish) a comment because it verges on spam.  But not everybody is that lucky. Just look at the comments on any site with a faintly political twist, especially now, when election rhetoric is so heated I expect flames to leap out of my television screen whenever I turn it on. Or how about religion? Or global warming?  The comments can be a head-on glimpse at a world where people ditch civility and humiliate strangers because nobody knows who they really are.

I’ve noticed another problem, particularly on recipe blogs. A warm, chatty post is followed by 95 comments, 16 of which ask specific questions.”Could I substitute low-fat coconut milk for regular?” “Would this work with quinoa instead of rice?” And the questions hang there forever, because the blogger never visits the post again. Warm and chatty turns into cold and uncaring. Never a blogger’s intention.

A blogger can’t judge the success of her blogs by the number of comments. She may be preaching to the choir and leaving nothing to disagree with. She may not be controversial enough to need correcting. Personally I comment rarely on the blogs I visit. I read the blogger because I want his/her opinion and not because I want to give my own.

How about you?  Do you appreciate the chance to add your thoughts, or could you care less?  Are you worried your comment might be misconstrued or passed over, so you’re afraid to add it?

Do you read comments that follow a blog, or would that bore you?

I plan to leave my comment option just as it is. You are unfailingly polite, and I read every single word you write.

But if you ever turn into raving maniacs?  Well, there’s always this.  No-holds barred controversy on this page would probably triple my readership.

Now, isn’t that a scary thought?


  1. Kelly on October 9, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I like the comments link.

    As a reader I sometimes read through them to see what others are saying/thinking.

    As a blog publisher I have my comments “moderated” due to those that think it’s OK to leave a vile rant on a craft blog. I enjoy hearing what my readers think and do my best to reply to every comment, even if it’s a simple thank you. 🙂

    • Emilie Richards on October 9, 2012 at 9:08 am

      I’m glad people are comfortable with the comments here and my responses. I do moderate them, and WordPress does patrol and log spam. I can’t quite figure out why so-called businesses make inane comments on blogs that have nothing to do with them. How could this increase their traffic? Mysteries of the internet.

  2. Becky on October 9, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I love the comments on your website, but have to agree they aren’t always my favorite on other sites. Some people don’t comment with other feelings in mind there is a way to express your opinion and still be gracious to others opinions.

  3. Debbie Hearne on October 9, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I love being able to comment on a blog and yes, I do read the other comments. When the blogger comments back (and you do) I feel validated for myself and all others. I don’t mean that I have to be singled out with a response, I just appreciate seeing the blogger give some feedback.

  4. Nancy Badertscher on October 9, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I do read the comments of others, but am glad to know that you as the blogger have the option to delete what you want because those that are off topic or just vile have no place here, or anywhere else.

    Hope your housing situation is about to become finalized!

    • Emilie Richards on October 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

      I’m glad, too. I don’t delete people who disagree with me, though. Freedom of polite speech here. Polite is the key.

  5. Robin Kaspar on October 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I’m with you on that recipe thing. I find it very enlightening to read comments on a recipe (unless there are hundreds to wade through) but it’s frustrating when the blogger doesn’t answer questions or clarify points with the ingredients or directions.

    On a side note, I hate Captcha codes (thank you for not doing that) and I always copy my comment before submitting because more than once my comment has been lost when I was required to sign in to WordPress or Google first. That way, I can paste the comment back into the comment box after signing in.

    • Emilie Richards on October 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      I agree on the codes, which are often impossible to decipher. Saw a good one today, three digits clear as bells, but they danced to foil spammers. Made me smile.

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